Cheryl Casone is a reporter and anchor for Fox Business Network, focusing on jobs, the economy and women in the workplace. Cheryl is the author of “The Comeback: How Today’s Moms Reenter the Workplace Successfully” released on 3 May. EO interviewed Cheryl about her experiences and takeaways through the process.
Countless mothers face situations where they need to return to work—after leaving to focus on their families—with little or no guidance every day. They’re told to “lean in” and lobby for more sympathetic workplaces, but none of that solves the immediate, practical problem: “I need a job. NOW.”
Fortunately for women everywhere, career expert and Fox Business Network anchor, Cheryl Casone, has written a comprehensive guide to making the comeback with her new book, THE COMEBACK: HOW TODAY’S MOMS REENTER THE WORKPLACE SUCCESSFULLY.
After interviewing hundreds of women who are willing to share both their success and their mistakes, Casone offers a one-stop shop for moms at every stage of the process.
What events in your life inspired you to write “The Comeback”?
“It was a build in my professional life. I had a ‘comeback’ mom. My mother was home with me when I was a child, and when my parents divorced, she went back into the workforce. When I was on the set with Fox, I was able to connect with people. I felt I was doing something positive for our viewers. I heard from a friend, ‘I have amazing women friends who can’t get jobs … and they are qualified.’”
“So I looked into it. I found that there was a whole story about women and moms reentering the workforce. Why was corporate America ignoring these women? Why were they having a hard time getting back into the workforce? What were they going through? Were companies discriminating them?”
“No one had written a book on this subject before. There’s so much more to be done. It’s an untapped problem and an untapped market. There are a lot of talented women out there.”
What are your biggest takeaways from this process?
“After interviewing more than 100 moms, there were two things they had in common. First: Insecurity. Whether it was two years of 10 years, they had been out of the workforce for a period of time and felt insecure about themselves. Second: Guilt. All of the moms felt a sense of guilt about reentering into the workforce. ‘Is my kid going to be okay? Am I going to miss something?’ A lot of the women have businesses out of their home, and they enjoy being their own bosses. It is true; you do have to deal with the guilt, and you can’t be everything at one time. One of the quotes I heard from a mom, ‘You’ve got a lot of balls in the air, and you’re a juggler. At some point, a ball is going to drop, and that’s okay.’”
“Women that have stayed home didn’t know to begin their own business. I interviewed one woman who got together with two other moms, and the three of them created a consulting firm. They first started working out of their house, but now have an office. All three women knew exactly what they wanted and are now corporate headhunters. Finding like-minded people and a support system was the best thing they could have done.”
What advice can you give to entrepreneurs to manage work/life balance?
“Perfecting organizational skills will help you achieve the work/life balance successfully. One mom learned to put things in a ‘bucket.’ For example, if you know you have your child’s event on Tuesday and you can’t miss it, that event is what’s in the bucket for Tuesday. Each day has a different bucket with specific priorities that you devote your time to.”
What is the tangible valuable of female community within the professional sector?
“From the previous example, these three women understood what each other were doing. This is not just happening in the small business arena or entrepreneurial arena, it’s happening in corporate America. I talked to a woman from Hasbro, and she’s part of Hasbro community groups. There’s a ‘Moms Group’ which connects them with other mom’s at their work place. They have lunch-ins, meetings, etc. They have different groups available for different sub-cultures which allow you to connect with your peers. It’s important that to have someone to share experiences with. This is crucial for women in general. It shows that you’re not alone. Building comradery and teamwork helps corporations, and it helps you know that someone has your back. We all need support and a safe place to fall.”
Do you think the way in which your story is told, with testimonials from these women, is having the same effect of within a support system?
“I didn’t want the book to be preachy or formal. What you see is what you get. I wanted the real truth to come out. It’s important to create a support system – this book is for the woman sitting at home in Chicago who’s been out of work for 5 years. She either wants to go back to work or needs to – and this is where she can come for support.”
In EO, there is an internal group called “Women of EO.” What advice can you give for WOMENtrepreneurs reentering into the workforce?
“Know the end goal. No matter where you are on the journey, remind yourself constantly of your goal. If you have your business, and it’s not what you thought it would be … pivot. Check in with yourself to make sure you’re on the right track. Ask questions such as, ‘Am I on the right track? Am I feeling good about the work I’m doing? Am I passionate about it?’ Re-evaluation is key.”